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McDonald v. Sorrels

United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division

May 29, 2020, Decided; May 29, 2020, Filed

CAUSE NO. 1:19-CV-219-LY

Opinion

ORDER ON CROSS-MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Before the court in the above-styled cause are the parties' cross-motions [*5]  for summary judgment, responses, replies, amicus briefs, and exhibits.1 On August 1, 2019, the court held a hearing on the motions at which all parties were represented by counsel. Having considered the motions, responses, replies, amicus briefs, the parties' summary-judgment proof, argument of counsel, post-hearing submissions, case file, and applicable law, the court renders the following order.

Jurisdiction and venue

Federal courts have original jurisdiction over "all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws or treaties of the United States." 28 U.S.C. § 1331. This action arises under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and is brought pursuant Section 1983 of Title 42 of the United States Code. This court has subject-matter jurisdiction under Sections 1331 and 1343 of Title 28 of the United States Code, and venue is proper in this district because at least one of the defendants resides in this district and all defendants reside in the State of Texas. See 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)(1).

Factual background

Texas requires all lawyers licensed to practice in the state to enroll in, and pay annual membership fees to, a statewide bar. See Tex. Gov't Code §§81.051, 81.054, 81.102. The Texas Legislature established the State Bar of Texas (the "Bar") in 1939 as "an administrative agency of the Judicial Department of [*6]  the State." State Bar Act § 2, reprinted in 2 Tex. B.J. 128, 128 (1939). The operations and responsibilities of the Bar are governed by statute, along with the Bar's internal rules and policies. The State Bar Act (the "Act") mandates that all attorneys licensed to practice law in Texas be members of the Bar. The Bar "is a public corporation and an administrative agency of the judicial department" of Texas government and is subject to "administrative control" by the Texas Supreme Court. See Tex. Gov't Code § 81.011(a), (c).

The Act specifies the Bar's purposes as follows:

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2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105134 *

TONY K. MCDONALD, JOSHUA B. HAMMER, AND MARK S. PULLIAM, PLAINTIFFS, v. RANDALL O. SORRELS, LARRY P. MCDOUGAL, JOE K. LONGLEY, LAURA GIBSON, BRITNEY E. HARRISON, ANDRES E. ALMANZAN, JERRY C. ALEXANDER, KATE BIHM, REBEKAH STEELY BROOKER, LUIS M. CARDENAS, ALISON W. COLVIN, DEREK COOK, ROBERT D. CRAIN, CHRISTINA DAVIS, ALISTAIR B. DAWSON, LESLIE DIPPEL, MICHAEL DOKUPIL, VICTOR FLORES, JARROD T. FOERSTER, LAURA GIBSON, JOHN CHARLES GINN, SHARI GOLDSBERRY, MARC E. GRAVELY, AUGUST W. HARRIS III, JOE "RICE" HORKEY, JR., WENDY-ADELE HUMPHREY, MICHAEL K. HURST, NEIL D. KELLY, DAVID C. KENT, ALDO D. LOPEZ, YOLANDA CORTES MARES, ROBERT E. MCKNIGHT, JR., STEPHEN J. NAYLOR AMIE S. PEACE, SALLY PRETORIUS, CARMEN M. ROE, ADAM T. SCHRAMEK, DAVID K SERGI, ALAN E. SIMS, DINESH H. SINGHAL, JASON SMITH, SANTOS VARGAS, G. MICHAEL VASQUEZ, K. NICOLE VOYLES, AMY WELBORN, JAMES WESTER, JAMES C. WOO, AND DIANE ST. YVES, IN THEIR OFFICIAL CAPACITIES AS MEMBERS OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE STATE BAR OF TEXAS, DEFENDANTS.

CORE TERMS

membership, profession, expenditures, mandatory, legal-service, ideological, nonmoving, licensed, germane, annual, compulsory